LIFE BEGINS AT 60
Photos by Damien Jennings,
Colin Grant and Andy Knott
MG Car Club Safety Fast
Preparations began two years ago for MGB60, a joint venture between our own MGB Register and the MG Owners Club. The biggest headache was the timeline, which took up a great deal of the organisers’ time tracking down suitable special cars, and cars from every year of MGB production, and then contacting owners to obtain their commitment to attend.
On September 25 2022, the buildings around Gaydon resonated to the sound of the B series as the Warwickshire roads were filled with MGBs all heading to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon to celebrate 60 years of the iconic British Sportscar. The show got underway when our MG Car Club President, John Day, opened the show at 10.00am and introduced the parade of MGBs and MGB GTs that passed slowly around the site and through the arena before parking up for all to see.
We welcomed our sponsors, Classic Oils, MGOC Spares, Moss Europe Bristol, Rimmer Bros and MGB Hive. We also welcomed a cross section of MGB related traders including RPS, Oselli and Chase MG, together with other businesses who have a direct involvement with MGBs or the Classic Car world such as MH Textiles, Spitfire Motoring Products, Classic Concierge, Ridgard Classic Seats, Powerlite, ACE Embroidery and Cherished Vehicle Insurance. Competition prizes were sponsored by MGB Hive, with Rimmer Brothers sponsoring the Favourite Car of the Show award and MGOC Spares, Castrol Oils and Moss Europe sponsoring the Display Cars.
Unlike 10 years ago when MGB50 was held at a very wet Blenheim Palace, MGB60 was held on a very dry and sunny day. With well over 1,200 MGBs and their derivatives in attendance the day was always going to be a success. And a success it was, with people from all over the country, and some from overseas attending in their MGs. Entry tickets gave free entry to the Museum and to the Jaguar Collection, which most visitors took advantage of, also using the excellent catering facilities.
There was a host of special MGBs on display, 70 in all, which included the MGB EVENT Register’s Marathon car which was entered in the London to Sydney Marathon Race in 1968 driven by Jean Denton and Tom Boyce. The car has been found and restored by the MGB Register. One of the most
stylish MGBs produced was that by Belgium coach builder Jacques Coune, and not one but three of these rare cars were on display with crowds gathered around them all day. Another favourite special was the two Costello V8s, which were displayed near the entrance to the museum.
A one-off special created by MG Specialist Trevor Broadbent, and now privately owned, was a replica of the original Aston Martin MGB with an O series engine, which itself was a one-off, and created as an exercise to show what Aston could do if they had been allowed to take over MG production. A car that that drew the crowds was a lightweight MGB produced by the works factory team, to be campaigned in America. This was one of three cars entered in America’s greatest endurance race, the 12 hours of Sebring in 1964.
The stunning timeline of MGB and MGB GTs from 1962 to the last of the models in 1980 had people lining up to view them. The MGB GT was launched in 1965, so in the timeline from 1965 a MGB GT and MGB of the same year were displayed.
Visitors were kept well informed over the tannoy with John Lakey and Helen Keen compering the day’s proceedings. If music is your thing, then you were kept entertained by the trio of ladies from ‘My Favourite Things’, who covered songs from the 1920s to the 1950s together with period dance routines. Bringing the music more up to date was ‘WipeOut’, a father and son duo who covered songs from the 1950s through to the modern day from the likes of Neil Diamond, Status Quo and the Rolling Stones to name but a few.
Two famous MG authors, David Knowles and Anders Ditlev Clausager, were on hand to sign their books. David’s historical books have been part of MG enthusiasts’ bookshelves for many years and his latest book on the MGB is in great demand. Anders is well known for his series of ‘Original’ books on various MG models, which has become the bible for restorers wishing to get every detail correct.
The event’s chosen charity was the Sepsis Trust which does so much to make people more aware of the symptoms to look out for, that if untreated can be very serious. John Watson, representing Sepsis UK Trust, was on hand to discuss this with visitors during the day.
The event competitions attracted many entrants, with prizes going to the following categories: Favourite Early MGB/GT Chrome Bumper, Favourite Late MGB/GT Rubber Bumper, Favourite Most Original MGB/GT, Favourite Modified MGB/GT, Young People’s Choice and Favourite Car of the Show.
All winners each received a goody bag which contained a £25 voucher with mug, pen, torch etc from MGB Hive, plus a blue rally plate and lapel badge. The Young People’s choice also received a book on British Sports Cars and a work light from MGB Hive. The Favourite Car of the Show had a £50 voucher from Rimmer Bros, in addition to the goody bag. Everyone at the event was eligible to vote by collect voting slips from the MGB Register Gazebo.
There were different coloured slips for each competition category. The slips were filled in with the choice of MGB or GT and placed in the corresponding-coloured Voting Box – an excellent system that worked perfectly.
The event was a great success, and the MG Car Club committee involved in the organisation are volunteers who have put in untold hours in preparing the show, thus we would like to thank them all for their hard work. They are: Graham Dix, John Watson, Neil Hyett, Andrew Vigor, Chris Cockram, Lorna Cockram, Mike Barclay, Brian Woodhams and Paul Scott. We would also like to thank the many volunteer marshals and others too numerous to mention, without whose help the show could not have happened. The British Motor Museum at Gaydon were of course hosting MGB60 and their expertise was invaluable; in particular, thanks should go to Tom Caren for his personal advice and input. Finally, our thanks go to the members of the MGOC, in particular Richard Monk, for their expert and essential help in preparing for the event.
Now to start organising for MGB70!!
One of the features of such an event as MGB60 is the opportunity for old friends to meet, and it was great to see so many groups all around the museum site chatting and admiring each other’s pride and joys. On that score it was a particularly pleasant surprise for me to meet up with the new owner of my much loved MGB GT that I sold over three years ago (see attached photo). Social media has been awash with photographs and video of the event and I hope it will last in the memory of our members for years to come. The weather was kind to us which clearly helped with the enjoyment of the day, but for me it was the amazing sight of so many MGBs in one location that will be my lasting memory. MGB60 was all planned and executed by a team of amazing volunteers and it gratifying to know that so many notes of thanks and praise were received for that hard work.